What were your first impressions of the Repsol Honda team making your debut in Valencia?
“My first impressions of the Repsol Honda Team in the test were really good. When you come from a different team, you have to get a bit used to the people and the dynamic of work, that is completely different from the one that I that have been in, and I like it. There were a lot of people in the garage, and I enjoyed it. We could make a great test and it felt like the first day back in school.”
How do you adjust to this new challenge?
“I try to adapt to this new challenge being quite optimistic and willing to start in a new team. Personally, I always enjoy these types of challenges to get to know new things: How is that the team, the bike, meeting all the people in the team… I enjoyed the test and this process, and I look forward to meeting more people on the team.”
Coming into the Repsol Honda Team, the most successful team in MotoGP history, what were your thoughts when you first signed the contract?
“My feelings when I joined a team like this one were unbelievable. I think that every rider has imagined himself with these colours, so being a part of this makes me really proud to arrive in such a sweet moment in my career. I think that I am in a sweet moment and I’m also young to try to repeat again what we’ve done in the past. So, let’s see what we can do.”
What do these colours mean? Is there is a responsibility, a bit of extra pressure to continue that legacy, that history?
“Of course, to be a part of this team means more pressure, because only winning is a good result here. We know that we arrive in a difficult moment, but the approach to racing has to be the same one: try to be as fast as we can to bring these colours where they deserve.”
“To share the box with Marc is a true challenge, because he’s the best rider on the grid and the one with more titles”
And now that you’ve both been riding the same bike, is there anything that surprised you or that you learnt about how Marc is riding that maybe you didn’t notice before?
“During the test I could make some laps with him and also share some data. He knows how these bike works perfectly. He’s able to ride in a way that the bike asks for: going really fast into the corner, which is probably faster than the bikes that I have tried in the past. Then, the way the bike gives you the power is different compared to the ones that I tried before. I have to get used to it and Marc knows how to do it really well.”
What is it like to now share a box with Marc Márquez? You have raced against him a lot, but now he’s your neighbour.
“To share the box with Marc is a true challenge, because he’s the best rider on the grid and the one with more titles. This is something that can be really good from one way and probably more difficult in the other one. You can share some data with him and you can learn a lot from the inside, but if you don’t perform in the way that you want, you always have a tough rider in the other side of the garage.”
What is your goal for 2023?
“First of all, we have to be realistic. We arrive in a difficult moment. The key will be to adapt quickly to this bike and then try to build some confidence and speed during the first races. Then, from the middle season, the goal will be to try to be closer to the podium and to great results.”
We saw you and Marc speaking at the end of the test. What were you chatting about with Marc?
“Chatting after the test is something normal. When a new rider comes to the box and tries the bike, you want to hear what his feelings are. In this case, we shared the direction that we wanted to follow. Pushing together in the same direction is really important, instead of each rider going on their own. We want to take the correct way together, and in this case, we were chatting about this.”
What does the word biofuel suggest to you?
“Biofuel makes me think about the present and the future. In 2024, it will become a reality in the Championship and I am happy to know that Repsol Honda is already working to have the best biofuel and make the bike more competitive. I am looking forward to test it, to compare and help the engineers in their development and work, so that it will help us to fight for victories and championships.”
Biofuel will become a reality from 2024 onwards. Do you think they can become decisive and make the difference between the different bikes on the grid?
“Absolutely. I think that Repsol’s work will be fundamental to be competitive and help us to make a difference from the rest of the grid.”